Controversies News United Kingdom

UK culture minister resigns

Maria Miller steps down after coming under fire for expenses claims and is replaced by Sajid Javid

Maria Miller, centre, when Hyundai Motor's long-term sponsorship of Tate Modern was announced in January

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has had to find a new culture minister after reluctantly accepting Maria Miller's resignation today following the controversy surrounding her expenses claims. She had been his culture minster since September 2012.

Last week she was forced to apologise to the House of Commons for over-claiming an allowance on her second home in London.

Although backed by the Prime Minister, the continuing controversy has led to her resignation today. In her letter to Cameron she wrote: "It has become clear to me that the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this government is doing to turn our country around."

The arts played a secondary role during her time as culture secretary, which was dominated by the regulation of the press in the wake of the phone hacking scandal and Levenson Inquiry, building on the legacy of the London Olympic Games and piloting the Equal Marriage Act through Parliament. She continued to stress ways of encouraging arts philanthropy while government funding for the arts shrank as part of its general austerity measures.

Update: Sajid Javid has been appointed Miller's successor as culture minister, moving from the Treasury. A rising star in the Conservative Party, he worked for Chase Manhattan Bank in New York and for Deutsche Bank in London before becoming an MP. From a relatively humble background, his father immigrated to Britain from Pakistan in the 1960s.

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